Candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in residential structures, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries, and $539 million in estimated direct property damage each year, and the owners of an apartment in Plymouth, MA learned the dangers of candles the hard way.
A passerby noticed smoke coming from a window of a 2nd floor apartment located above Piantedosi’s Butcher Shop at 282 Court St in North Plymouth on Wednesday. The citizen immediately called 911 and firefighters were dispatched to put out the flame which they believe was caused by an unattended candle.
Fortunately, the occupants of the apartment were not home at the time of the fire and the fire response team arrived quickly enough to prevent the fire from spreading to other areas of the building. The apartment was deemed uninhabitable following the fire.
The butcher shop sustained some water damage but is expected to open today. One firefighter was treated at Jordan Hospital and was later released.
Here are some other statistics regarding candles and fires that should make you think twice about leaving burning candles unattended:
- Over half (55%) of home candle fires start because the candle is too close to some combustible material.
- More candle fires (38%) begin in the bedroom than in any other room.
- Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 26% of the associated deaths.
- Half of all civilian candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6am.
- December is the peak month for candle fires; Christmas is the peak day.
- Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.
- The risk of a fatal candle fire appears higher when candles are used for light.
Source: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - Candle Fires, September 2007.